‘Furia’: An ambitious thriller that collapses between the fjords and Berlin

The first photos show that Gjermund Stenberg Eriksen wants more than just to tell an exciting story. A quick collage of Merkel, Obama, Trump, neo-Nazi rallies and refugee flows charges expectations with social and political claims. The Norwegian creator has set himself no less than making the modern cross-border networks of European right-wing terrorism tangible through his chain.

The topic has been worked on fancifully many times, but not like this: while the oppressive Norwegian mini-series “22 July” (on Netflix) reconstructs the 2011 terrorist attacks in Oslo and Otoya from different local perspectives, “Furia” points out These terrorist cells are fictionalized in both Norway and Germany and attempt to create narrative equality between the two countries through an almost equal distribution of locations and occupations. A true co-production, Monster Scripted producers from Oslo and XFilme from Berlin like to stress over and over again.

However, you have to be patient until episode four of eight before the German part becomes visible and the action mostly travels to Berlin. Before that, the two main protagonists are introduced to the seemingly idyllic county among the fjords: policeman Asgeir (Pål Sverre Hagen) is threatened by the Russian mafia as a former member of a special unit and is supposed to start in a small town under a new identity. As an undercover intelligence agent, Ragna (En-Marie Wellman) infiltrated a right-wing terrorist cell and through her identity blog “Furia” – named after the Greek gods who rose from the underworld to avenge the false oath – provides ideological fuel for planned major attacks.

They meet after a xenophobic attack on the local refugee center and are now dependent on each other. She gradually deciphered from the inside, and from the outside, the plans of the cell led by the German Brehme (Ulrich Neuthen) and finally traced it to Berlin, where shortly before the federal elections a political shift to the right would be made. by horror. Together with Kathy (Nina Konzendorf), head of the Public Security Department of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Ragna and Asgir attempt to stop the dungeon.

In Norway, where “Furia” started at the end of September, there is a diametrically opposite view of song recordings on the streaming platform Viaplay and mostly negative press reviews. For example, Dagbladet criticized the series as “unintentionally satirical in its rude use of metaphors and well-known thrillers”. You don’t have to judge it completely destructively and you can totally ignore heroes with seemingly inevitable trauma, work-family division, or insidious clients on all sides, because the high stress level keeps you going for long periods of time.

© ZDF / Boris Lowen
A strangely artificial look at political clichés: Nina Konzendorf and Stefan Kurt in ‘Furia’

But what is clear after the scenes of the first Berlin match at the latest is that “Furia” exceeded his own standards. There is such an imbalance between mainly Norwegian and mainly German episodes that one can sometimes get the impression of two different series – a fictional and emotionally intelligent Norwegian and a superficial and vulgar German. Director Magnus Martens (episodes 1-3, 7-8) enjoys the beauty of the mountains and lakes of Fiordland in order to set a conscious counterpoint to “Nordic Noir” and present the main characters in a calm and psychologically understandable way. You can’t help but root for Ragna and Asgeir afterward, even if the appeal of his story over hers wanes as the story progresses. The pulse of the small town and the dynamics among its sometimes hostile residents can be felt authentically.

On the other hand, fellow German Martens Lars Krom (episodes 4-6) gives a very uninspiring production, which of course also has to wrestle with woodcut-like extensions in the scripts. Berlin is photographed between the Reichstag and Potsdamer Platz so much that it is of course not easy to find new perspectives. Cromey doesn’t even try, in the German capital, “Furia” sticks an oddly artificial look at general political cliches and gives under-challenged Nina Konzendorf plenty of screen time for a bit of internal motivation for her role. One could have wished for much more from the occasional flickering originality, like the Norwegian desperation of the German administrative federation (“Which of the 16 LKAs should we call?”).

After all, Eriksen’s ambition remains that eight episodes of “Furia” make a vivid impression of how far-right cells communicate internationally and thrive in the most unexpected places, as well as offer vast fertile ground in the digital space using verbal Maher. memorization; As an entertaining thriller packed with some action and suspense, the series is always on.

“Furia,” starting Sunday at ZDF Media Library, also on four 90-minute shows on Sunday and Monday at 10:15 p.m. ZDF time

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